DENVER – Taylor Swift took the stand on Thursday to start Day 4 of her trial involving a former Denver DJ who is accused of groping her and losing his job because of it. Click here for yesterday's wrap.
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Our Day 4 wrapped has been posted here. Thanks for reading, everyone! Be back tomorrow at 8:45 a.m. Mountain Time.
Judge Martinez says there is now an order regarding Wednesday morning's private conference between the two counsels that has been submitted in the case, but will be sealed pending a verdict.
They are now discussing a timeline for closing arguments. Judge Martinez says he'll let them know about that Friday afternoon.
Court recesses until 8:45 a.m. Friday. Will re-wrap the day; story to come.
“Did you have to look at the picture to know he did that?” one of Swift’s attorneys asks Simbeck.
“No because I saw it happen,” she replied.
“[Swift] had a shocked, uncomfortable look on her face. It made me uncomfortable as well,” Simbeck continued.
Simbeck said seeing the way the photo happened, with Swift falling away from Mueller, was out of the ordinary.
She notes that Swift is trying to get away, in her opinion, from Mueller in the photo. She says she remembers those moments “vividly,” and notes that in other photos, Swift is very close with her fans.
She says Swift didn’t have a chance to say anything after the Mueller photo because other fans were already in the room. But Simbeck says after the meet-and-greet is when she told the room about Mueller allegedly grabbing her.
“I knew it. I have the photograph,” Simbeck says she told Swift. Swift said, “That’s him,” according to Simbeck, who says Swift expressed “no doubt” that Mueller was the man she was accusing and was also the man in the photo Simbeck brought up.
Simbeck says it’s “ridiculous” to think that Mueller’s testimony that he jumped into the picture last minute is true. Simbeck says they always get together during the photo.
Swift’s team ends questioning. McFarland declines to recross, and Simbeck is off the stand.
Simbeck says she did not see Mueller put his hand under her skirt or lift it, but said she saw him touch her inappropriately.
“She had an uncomfortable shocked looked on her face, and I saw his hand grab her ass,” Simbeck says.
McFarland contends that she couldn’t have seen him grab Swift’s rear end because she can’t say whether it was inside or outside of her clothing.
She says she saw the skin of Mueller’s hand make contact with Swift’s rear end. When asked if his hand was inside or outside of Swift’s clothing, she says, “I don’t know.”
Stephanie Simbeck is called to the stand. She runs Swift’s meet-and-greets and was the photographer in the photo booth at the meet-and-greet that Mueller attended that day on June 2, 2013.
Do you recognize this photo, McFarland asks, bringing up the notorious photo.
“Do you think in this photo Mr. Mueller is grabbing Ms. Swift’s butt?” McFarland asks.
“No, I know he is,” Simbeck says.
Asked if she knows whether the hand is inside or outside Swift’s skirt, she says no, but that she knows Mueller’s hand was on Swift’s rear end.
The staffer has worked with Swift since 2009, and says she’s “done nearly every meet-and-greet” with her since then.
“She’ll typically hug and embrace anyone who takes a photo with her,” the staffer says.
But she said that directly after Mueller left the room that day, and after the entire meet-and-greet was finished, she said Swift immediately told the entire room, “Dude, that guy grabbed my ass.”
The staffer says she’d never seen Swift react that way to a photo before.
We are back in court now, and a woman who was the room manager at the photo booth meet-and-greet room is now on the stand.
More interestingly, while we were outside on the brief break, Eddie Haskell came out and gave an impromptu interview in a gaggle.
He mostly reiterated what he'd already said in court, but said he was happy to finally have his day in court to refute what Mueller has alleged against him--that he was the one who actually groped Swift.
But he also clarified comments that Mueller had alleged, in which Mueller had said Haskell told him Swift was wearing bike shorts.
Haskell explained he indeed told Mueller that, and also noted that the attorneys did not ask about it while he was on the stand, despite asking about the comments Mueller alleged Haskell had made to him.
Here's a portion of what he said about it -- he says he made the comments after the stage tour, where he found out how she changed wardrobes so quickly.
Haskell says he didn’t talk to any of the Swift party, and that it was KYGO’s decision to terminate Mueller.
McFarland is now up for redirect questioning to Haskell, but both sides agree that Haskell can be dismissed. We are now taking a 20-minute afternoon break.
Haskell now talking about the third host, a woman, KYGO was trying to hire for Mueller and Kliesch’s show.
He liked Tracy Dixon – flew her in, but Mueller and Kliesch didn’t like her. She’s now on that exact show on KYGO, which Haskell said is going well and is “quite successful.”
Mueller and Kliesch wanted him to hire a barista from Starbuck’s who they liked. Haskell interviewed her, but didn’t think she was the right fit.
But even later, Haskell says they told him that if it wasn’t the barista who was getting hired, they wouldn’t be happy.
Still, she was his first choice, and he wanted to hire her. But when they talked again about her coming in, Haskell says that Dixon told her she felt Mueller and Kliesch didn’t like her, and she decided not to take the job at the time.
But after Mueller was fired, she did take the job.
Baldridge brings up a memo from the head of all programming for the parent company of KYGO showing that person was already considering terminating Mueller for cause ahead of June 2, 2013—something Haskell says even he was unaware of.
Haskell says he’s “very familiar” of the allegation Mueller made about him.
“It is an absolute lie. And the fact that it took him 2 years to make that story up shows it is a lie,” Haskell says.
“It was never mentioned in our 2-hour meeting with him,” Haskell adds. “It wasn’t mentioned the night of…The first time I was made aware of it was in a federal lawsuit that then went to the entire media world.”
Haskell says he believes Mueller’s statements have had a public impact on him. Says he was up for a couple of jobs he didn’t get, that one person even brought it up directly.
He says even last week, another friend told him that people at that friend’s company had been talking about the allegation Mueller made against Haskell.
“I assaulted her in a room of 20 people, then her mother happily took me on a tour,” Haskell said sarcastically.
Baldridge now cross-examining Haskell, who says all pieces of the investigation “filtered through Bob Call.”
Haskell confirms that either call or the HR manager at KYGO spoke to everyone who had been in the photo booth with Mueller and Swift during their investigation.
Haskell says he indeed recalls that Bob Call said Mueller “changed his story” during the interview. He says Call posed him question directly after the meeting the three had about whether he felt like Mueller changed his story during the meeting.
“If you go from, ‘There’s no possible way I did anything,’ to. ‘Well, if I did anything it was an accident,’ that would be not good,” Haskell says, saying it was an independent decision of KYGO’s that Mueller changed his story.
In his deposition, Haskell said he felt the photo was “damning,” again reiterating that he and call had both come to the conclusion Mueller changed story independently.
Baldridge trying to re-establish the idea that this was KYGO’s decision to fire Mueller, and those decisions had nothing to do with the Swift team.
In VIP meet-and-greet room, Haskell says Taylor would go between various groups of tables and chat, then have a picture.
He says Swift only spoke with him for about 30 seconds aside from the photo. He’d been in Albuquerque for 9 years, so he says Swift knew him as “the Albuquerque guy.”
He says he met with Mueller and Melcher after that, but before the show, and gave them their passes before heading to the radio room with Kliesch.
He says they did not appear intoxicated, but said “they were drinking.”
“I believe he had a drink in his hand when I saw him in the lobby of the Pepsi Center,” Haskell said. Haskell says that would have had to have been after the Mueller-Swift meet-and-greet.
He says after the backstage tour that KYGO got, he and Mueller met up out front at the KYGO tent and made small talk.
Haskell says he doesn’t recall talking to Mueller about hugging Swift, and denies ever saying anything about his hands being near Swift’s rear end or on it, as Mueller has claimed.
Haskell also says he doesn’t recall Mueller ever treating any women at work badly or inappropriately.
McFarland ends questioning, Baldridge now cross-examining Haskell.
“We felt he violated the morality clause of his employment agreement,” Haskell says of why Mueller was terminated.
He said it was his understanding that meant if someone did something that “made [KYGO] look bad,” they could be fired per the morality clause.
Haskell said he was unaware of any other reason to terminate Mueller on June 4, 2013 other than the violation of the “morality clause.”
Haskell acknowledges he hugged Swift once during the VIP meet-and-greet but did not meet with her otherwise. He attended that meet-and-greet with Ryan Kliesch and Kliesch’s wife.
He did not invite Mueller and Melcher. He only had four passes, which are usually for program and music directors, but he brought Kliesch. He acknowledges he told Mueller to attend as part of his work responsibilities.
He says he has “no idea” whether Mueller was excited or not to attend, and denies he was trying to “punish” Mueller.
He says he “could have flipped a coin” to decide between Kliesch or Mueller attending.
“It was merely about the quantity of passes,” Haskell says.
During the meeting with Mueller and Call, Haskell says Mueller was denying touching her. Haskell says Mueller than said he “incidentally” touched her, but said Mueller was adamant he never “inappropriately” touched Swift.
“We listened more than we talked, because the entire purpose of that meeting was to get [Mueller’s] his side of the story,” Haskell said.
He said they covered “a lot” and now estimates the meeting lasted between 1 and 2 hours. In his deposition last year, he said he thought it was 20 minutes in length. But he says he’s thought more about it since and realizes that time went by quickly.
He says HR manager for KYGO spoke with Melcher about the incident. She reported that conversation back to Call, saying Melcher said she didn’t see Mueller do anything, and reported that Mueller believed Haskell was “out to get him.”
Was it true that Haskell didn’t like Mueller, he’s asked.
“No, not at all,” Haskell says. Says his job is to “create a sound” for the show.
“Their strategy and mine didn’t mesh up, and that caused some business friction. Maybe he took that personally, but for me, it was business coaching,” Haskell says of relationship with Mueller.
Haskell admits he and Mueller had a “strained” relationship, and that the morning show was doing “not well” on June 2, 2013. The show was the No. 15-rated show in the market in the target demographic.
He says KYGO brought him in to “fix the station” and that after some modest growth in early 2013, ratings went down again in May. After Mueller was fired, show had “slow growth” but Haskell says he doesn’t think it ever “cracked Top 10.”
Haskell says that Bob Call started searching for any other video cameras in the room at the time to see if there were other angles of the alleged incident.
Haskell says he had a “minimal” role in the investigation, says he was one of seven people involved, but he was the least important.
Haskell says Mueller at one point asked about possible video angles.
Moving along, Haskell is asked about Mueller and Melcher’s interactions together at work. Haskell says their interactions were “nothing outside of business” while at the office. Says it’s safe to say they were “professional” while at the office.
Haskell is then asked if he met Swift on June 2, 2013. He says yes, wasn’t sure if her personal bodyguard was there, but someone was within earshot.
Haskell says Frank Bell and Bob had been in contact about the alleged incident, and that Bell and him may have run into one another.
He says that Bell told him that one of “his guys” may have grabbed Swift “inappropriately” and had been removed from the concert.
He says he was shown a portion of the photograph, but that it had been zoomed in on Mueller’s face for identification purposes.
Haskell says Bell never said anything about touching inside or outside the clothing.
“It was a hurried conversation. I could tell he was stressed…The only purpose of the conversation was that I knew and identified who that person (Mueller) was,” Haskell says.
He says it was a “brief” conversation only used to identify Mueller. Haskell says the conversation happened before the concert started.
Haskell says he next called Bob Call and “let him know what the situation was.”
He says the initial call was simply him relaying to call what Bell had told him in their conversation.
Haskell says they then had to text for another “couple hours” because of poor cellphone service.
Haskell had been at the VIP meet-and-greet earlier, which Mueller was not at. He and Melcher were at the fan meet-and-greet.
He and Call decided to take Mueller off the air, he says. He said Mueller texted him about what happened. Haskell says he was trying to "comfort" Mueller and saying he should take the day off and that he, Mueller and Call were going to meet later the next day.
Haskell says Mueller was "adamant" he hadn't done anything inappropriate.
Haskell says he talked with two people from Swift's label the night of the concert, as one of those people already knew about what allegedly happened beforehand. That person tracked Haskell down to tell him.
The other person was the head of Swift's label, and reached out to Haskell to ask about it. They had known one another for a long time.
Haskell says he didn’t know, nor had he met or heard of either David Mueller or Ryan Kliesch before they were hired for the KYGO morning show, but he spoke with them before he started as program director there.
He says it was more of an introduction call, and they talked about how some trial shows had been going.
Asked if before June 2, 2013 if he wanted to fire Mueller, Haskell says no. Same answer for firing Kliesch, and same answer when asked if he’d lobbied the company to do so for either.
He also says he didn’t document any “problems” with Mueller before June 2, 2013.
But he says he does have an understanding as to why Mueller was fired.
Says if it was his decision to make, he would have chosen to fire Mueller. But ultimately, he says, Bob Call made that decision.
Court is back in session. McFarland calls Hershel Coomer, aka “Eddie Haskell,” to the stand.
Haskell was Mueller’s direct superior at KYGO and was the program director.
He worked at KYGO for 4 years up until Feb. 10 of this year, when his employment agreement expired and the station chose not to renew it, he says. He says there was “not really” any explanation given.
He was in charge of helping hire talent, choosing music, and coordinating advertising with the programs, he says. He reported directly to Bob Call through the tenure of his employment.
Court is now in recess until 1:30 p.m. Read up on Taylor Swift's testimony from this morning by clicking here. Be back in 1 1/2 hours!
Call says he had what he considered to be very strong information from Frank Bell that he had lifted Swift’s skirt, that he also had the photo, and that he’d heard Mueller change his story.
Call says he was “shocked,” “embarrassed,” and that he “could not imagine what impact this would have on our listeners and clients.”
He says he felt that he needed to suspend Mueller the night of the alleged incident.
“I felt that given what had happened, and given that everyone was probably at an emotional pitch, that asking him to come in and do the morning show wasn’t right,” Call said.
Call says he wanted there to be an investigation, and an investigation was done.
“I looked at facts that were available to me. And that was, I had this picture. I had what I felt was very solid, credible information from Mr. Bell. I had a situation where his story changed from, ‘It didn’t happen, it didn’t happen,’ to then, ‘it was incidental,’” Call said. “And there was the picture…with his hand in a place where people don’t put their hands during a meet-and-greet picture.”
“It made no sense to me that Taylor would make such a claim,” Call says.
Has Mueller ever seen a picture out of hundreds from meet-and-greets where someone was putting their hand similar to where Mueller put it in the photo with Swift, he is asked.
“Never. Never,” he says.
Call says he believed Mueller was lying, and that’s why he fired him.
Mueller’s attorney, McFarland, now back to asking him questions, but those are over shortly. Swift's team declines to re-cross Call, and he is off the stand.
Did Melcher/Mueller relationship cause issues?
They can always cause problems, but only thing Call can recall is Shannon had some endorsements that ended up being given to Mueller and his co-host.
Call says some other KYGO hosts felt slighted at that.
“So there’s some tension at the station,” the attorney asks.
“I recall that,” he says.
Call says at the time Mueller was fired, he didn’t have any plans to renew an extra 1-year clause in Mueller’s contract.
Says Mueller’s partner, Ryan Kliesch, had missed or been late to a couple of KYGO events. Both Kliesch and Mueller’s contracts had clauses saying if one was fired, the other could be as well.
Call says that morning show ratings on KYGO were better both before and after Mueller was at the station. He says he didn’t work with Mueller closely.
“I’m not sure he had a huge number of relationships in the building or friends. Clearly, he had Shannon,” Call says.
He says “there was a lot of resistance to a third person,” and that Eddie Haskell was “trying to get some consensus” on who the third host should be.
One of Mueller’s suggestions was “a barista at Starbuck’s” should be the third host after several other options had been presented to him, he says.
Call says he’s met with Swift’s attorney, Doug Baldridge, before, and that Eddie Haskell and others were there. He says he took the meeting to be part of Baldridge’s efforts to find facts of the case though it happened before he was deposed.
He says he met with the team of lawyers in the past couple weeks to receive instruction on how to behave at the trial.
Is there anything else that McFarland’s team should know about, McFarland asks.
Not that I can think of,”
One of Swift’s lawyers now take up cross-examination, noting that she is not his counsel and that he has private counsel there independently.
McFarland brings up those typed-out notes into evidence.
The first part of the notes regard Call’s conversation on the morning of June 3 with Frank Bell. In the notes, Call writes that they discussed what team Swift had asked for, and noted that relationship between Swift team and KYGO could be “gravely impacted” by the incident involving Mueller.
The notes are mostly in line what everyone has testified as to thus far.
He’s now explaining KYGO’s relationship with country artists, and said he would not want to “gravely impact” station’s relationship with Swift, “as it is with all artists,” Call says.
But he says bigger artists do “not necessarily” mean they get preferential treatment.
“There’s no measure against a star’s popularity in that these people are more important and these people are less important,” Call says.
Call now talking about what Mueller told him about the alleged touching.
Call says Mueller told him there was “incidental” touching, but that if there had been other angles, Mueller said that it would have shown he didn’t touch her inappropriately.
He says Melcher spoke to the KYGO human resources manager, and says his recollection is that Melcher told HR she “did not see anything.” He says he doesn’t’ recall if Melcher saw “anything wrong whatsoever.”
Call, when asked, says he doesn’t agree that he needed to talk to more people who were in the room aside from Mueller and Melcher.
“I didn’t feel I needed any further information,” Call says. “I felt comfortable with Mr. Bell’s information he was giving me. I felt comfortable with the photograph, and I felt comfortable that Mueller had—incidentally or otherwise—touched her.”
“I relied on all the facts, not just on Mr. Bell’s comments, but they were very important,” Call says.
Call says he took handwritten notes during his meeting with Mueller. He says he no longer has those notes, but he transcribed them onto his computer “right after the meeting.”
He says he believes he shredded the handwritten notes afterward. “I certainly didn’t want them to fall into the wrong hands—not that you could have read my handwriting.”
Bob Call says he doesn’t believe when Frank Bell told him to “do the right thing” that that meant he should fire Mueller. He said he believed there were a range of possibilities of possible punishment if an investigation led to punishment.
Call tells McFarland he only promised to Bell that he and KYGO “would give all the facts fair consideration.”
McFarland asks Call where he thought Bell was getting his information.
“I had no reason to believe that Mr. Bell was telling me anything other than what occurred that evening,” he says.
He says Bell told him the team was considering "all the options" and that the Swift team was "very, very upset" and "getting angrier."
Robert “Bob” Call is called to the stand by McFarland. Call was Mueller’s general manager at KYGO at the time of the alleged grope and Mueller’s firing.
Call is currently vice president/market manager at KYGO. He says he was part of process in hiring Mueller at KYGO.
Call says he made the decision to fire Mueller on June 4, 2013.
“He, in our opinion, violated…our contract and created an embarrassing situation for our company, our clients…by virtue of touching Taylor’s rear end,” Call said, noting that he realized the alleged touching could have happened “incidentally or accidentally.”
McFarland asks about whether the clause Call cited for Mueller’s firing is a so-called “morality clause,” to which Call eventually says yes.
Call says one of the reasons for Mueller’s firing was the photograph.
“The photograph appears to have Taylor move very closely to Shannon Melcher. Clearly there is a gap between Mueller and Taylor, and in that gap, his hand is, in my mind without question, behind her rear end,” Call says.
He says he can’t tell in the photo if Mueller’s hand is on Swift’s rear end, nor can he tell if his hand is up her skirt.
Call also says that part of the reason Mueller was fired was the calls Frank Bell and Eddie Haskell made to him asking him to investigate.
He acknowledges the email Bell sent him asking him to keep the photo a secret, and his phone call telling Call what happened.
Call says Bell told him Mueller went into the photo shoot, put his hand up Swift’s skirt and grabbed her rear end. Call says he was aware Mueller had talked to Taylor’s mother before calling him.
Call says he didn't question Bell's motives or the story because he's known Bell for decades and trusts him.
“I had no reason to disbelieve what [Bell] was telling me,” Call says.
We just got new courtroom sketches from Swift on the stand and Mueller putting his head in his hands. (Courtesy Jeff Kandyba). See all the courtroom sketches in this case so far by clicking here.
McFarland is now having a deposition read from a woman who formerly worked on Swift's 2013 tour. The deposition contains some discussion of the alleged incident, but not much we haven't heard so far.
Judge Martinez calls a 20-minute break around 10:15 a.m.
McFarland continues to ask Swift about the photo, and Mueller’s hand placement.
“He stuck it right up,” Swift says.
“Have you ever watched police shows?” McFarland asks Swift.
“Yes!” Swift replies.
“I named my cat after Detective Olivia Benson from Law & Order SVU,” she says.
He’s asking about police lineups, saying it’s because police want “accurate IDs, right?”
“This is an accurate ID,” Swift retorts.
Cross-exam from Baldridge?
“Absolutely no questions, your honor,” he replies.
Swift spends about 1 hour on the stand.
"What shall we do with the rest of this time?" Judge Martinez asks. Attorneys called to the bench.
Gabe McFarland asks about Swift’s reaction when she found out Mueller lost his job at KYGO.
“I didn’t have a reaction to a strange person I didn’t know losing his job…that was a product of his decisions, not mine,” Swift says. “I’m not going to let you or your client make me feel like this is my fault.”
“I don’t know anything about Mr. Mueller. I don’t know him,” she continues. “I think what he did was despicable horrifying shocking, but I don’t know him at all.”
McFarland asks if she’s sure it was Mueller who allegedly grabbed her.
“It happened to me. He had a handful of my ass. It happened to me. I know it was him,” Swift says of Mueller. “I didn’t need a picture. I could have picked him out of a line of a thousand…this is not alleged. I don’t need you to grill me about the tiny details of this photograph.”
“You can ask me a million questions about it and I’m never going to say something different,” Swift says. “I never have said anything different.”
Why wasn’t the front of the skirt ruffled, McFarland asks.
“Because my ass is located on the back of my body,” Swift says.
He asks about Melcher. “Yeah, she did not have her hand on my ass,” she says.
“It was filled with expectation,” Swift says of Mueller’s statements when he arrived and said he worked for the radio, Swift said.
“We got into a photo formation. It’s really easy, you just stand there,” Swift says.
She talks about the “jostling” and “diving” and other things Mueller testified happened during the photo, which she shoots down.
“I’ve experienced every degree of an awkward first encounter,” Swift says, saying usually, she and the other person apologize and laugh afterward. She says that didn’t happen.
“He did not touch my rib, he did not touch my arm…he grabbed my bare ass, Swift says.
“This was not jostling. There was no diving into picture. We were perfectly in place to have the picture taken,” she says. “This was not an action shot.”
Swift says the incident was “horrifying,” “shocking,” and “we had never experienced it before.”
McFarland asks her if she was critical of her bodyguard, Dent, that he didn’t stop Mueller, whom Swift alleges was intoxicated, from taking the photo and allegedly groping her.
“No, I am critical of your client for sticking his hand under my skirt and grabbing my bare ass,” she responds.
She says Eddie Haskell did not grope her during the photo they took, which she believes happened but can’t recall particularly.
Asked about others in photo meet and greets: “I know none of them grabbed my bare ass under my skirt,” Swift says.
McFarland is questioning Swift as to why her bodyguard, Greg Dent, never did anything when the alleged grope happened, and McFarland contends that he wasn’t behind Swift and couldn’t have seen anything.
But Swift hits back: “His hand was under my skirt,” she says, on her “bare ass.”
McFarland now asking who else was involved at the photo booth and in discussions afterward.
Dent is no longer Swift’s personal bodyguard. It was “quite some time after this incident” when they parted ways. “We were restructuring our security team and we did offer him a position,” which he declined, Swift says.
McFarland asks if Swift and Dent had a “signal” for when something went wrong. She says no.
Swift says she believes Mueller and his girlfriend, Shannon Melcher, were intoxicated to some degree when they entered the photo booth.
“It appeared to me that the two of them had both had a couple of drinks beforehand, which is perfectly normal,” Swift says.
“What Mr. Mueller did was, like I said, very intentional, and the location was very intentional. And I wasn’t going to blame Greg Dent…none of us expected this to happened. It had never happened before,” Swift says.
Taylor Swift was called to the stand first thing Thursday. Her mother is not in court and is away due to illness.
“It was a definite grab, [a] very long grab,” Swift says of David Mueller’s alleged grope. “It was long enough for me to be completely sure it was intentional.”
“He stayed on to my bare ass cheek as I lurched away from him uncomfortably,” she continued. “The first couple of milliseconds, I thought it must be a mistake. I moved to the side very quickly.”
She says Mueller’s hand went under her clothing, as she’s claimed all along.
“After this happened, a light switched off in my personality,” she said, recalling what her mother discussed yesterday about Taylor thanking Mueller afterward. “I just said in a monotone voice, ‘Thank you for coming.’”
When Mueller’s attorney presses her about her behavior, she says: “Your client could have taken a normal photo with me.”
After Mueller and his girlfriend left the room and the meet-and-greet session was over, Swift says she told an assistant, “Dude, that guy just grabbed my ass.”